Harley-Davidson Launches 107” & 114” Milwaukee-Eight Engines

The 2017 Milwaukee-Eight V-Twin will be offered in a 107″ version for Harley Tourers and Trikes and a 114″ variation for its premium CVO models. (Photos by Brian J. Nelson, and Harley-Davidson)

Stop the press! The rumors are true. Harley-Davidson has indeed developed a new engine called the Milwaukee-Eight. The eight valve V-Twin comes in both a 107” version for Harley-Davidson Touring motorcycles and Trikes and a 114” variation for The Motor Company’s top-shelf CVO line. The new valvetrain design comes with an impressive list of proposed improvements – more power, better efficiency, lower idle, less heat, and less noise.

American Iron brass Buzz Kanter and Steve Lita got a chance to speak with Harley’s Product Planning Director Paul James and Chief Engineer, New Products Alex (Boz) Bozmoski about the Milwaukee-Eight for an exclusive American Iron Magazine first look article in Issue #341 that hits newsstands Sept. 13. Additionally, American Iron Editor Lita has already gotten a chance to sample 2017 Harleys with both the 107” and 114” versions of the Milwaukee-Eight, and his first ride review will run in American Iron Magazine Issue #342. Click here for some of editor Steve’s first ride impressions.

More power, better efficiency, lower idle, less heat, and less noise – what’s not to like about Harley’s new Milwaukee-Eight 107! Find out how many of these claims are true in American Iron Magazine Editor Steve Lita’s first ride review in Issue #342.

Until then, here’s a few of the Milwaukee-Eight’s key features gleaned from the American Iron Magazine article along with the engines’ specs. If you’d like to hear the new Milwaukee-Eight, be sure to check out American Iron’s YouTube channel.

• Because these are touring machines, design emphasis was placed on rider and passenger comfort (vibration), heat control (from engine and exhaust), and functionality (improved electrics and electronics). From what we were told, Harley met these goals.

• While the engine weighs just about the same as the Twin Cam it is replacing in 2017—at least on the touring and trike models—we were told the Milwaukee-Eight is a clean sheet design, going back to a single cam configuration, with pushrod-actuated four valves per head, hydraulic lifters, and dual sparkplugs per head.

The Milwaukee-Eight 107″ heads look different for good reason. In addition to increasing from two to four valves per cylinder, the heads have been treated for advanced combustion design and flow work, said to generate almost a 50% increase in flow.

BJN37718

Visible in blue is the precision oil cooling passage.

The Milwaukee-Eight 107 heads look different for good reason. In addition to increasing from two to four valves per cylinder, the heads have been treated for advanced combustion design and flow work, said to generate almost a 50% increase in flow.

Pushrod-activated rocker arms control the two intake and two exhaust valves per head. Once set, valve adjustments are done for life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Harley said there are two versions in relation to engine cooling as well, as bikes without lowers will feature Precision Oil-Cooled engines, while bikes with lowers will employ the Precision Water Cooling system, with the radiators housed in the lowers a la RUSHMORE style. Before you get any bright ideas about retro-fitting a Milwaukee-Eight into an older bike, be aware that the engine mounting points have changed.

• The flywheel weight is the same as on the Twin Cam, but Harley has achieved 20% more rotational inertia with this engine. This aids in smoothing the driveline and producing a broad torque curve that pulls all the time. Redline is 5,500 rpm, slightly higher than a Twin Cam. A single internal engine counter-balancer is tuned at 75%, and the engine is rubber-mounted for less overall vibration to the rider and passenger.

• The heads have been treated to advanced combustion design and flow work, generating almost a 50% increase in flow. The intake and exhaust valve diameters are 40mm and 32mm respectively. Add the dual sparkplug (two per cylinder) design for a more complete burn, and you can see that this is not just a warmed-over Twin Cam design. There’s a new four-post-coil ignition with torque-based ECM with active knock sensors. There is independent control of the front and rear cylinder firing, with the front two coil outputs firing together and rear two firing together. Sequential Port Fuel injection is retained with a single throat inlet throttle body made of plastic. A bump up in compression ratio to 10:1 (107″) or 10.5:1 (114″) from the Twin Cam’s 9.7:1 means premium-grade fuel will be required.

• The single camshaft is utilized for its lower friction qualities, and it is chain driven. Thanks to a hydraulic lifter to pushrod connection from cam to rocker arm, you will never have to adjust the valvetrain from left to right, as they are now factory-set for life!

• It’s larger, more powerful, offers quicker acceleration, and produces 10% more torque. It should prove to be two to three bike lengths faster from 0-60 mph and one to two bike lengths faster from 60-80 mph in top gear.

The more powerful Milwaukee-Eight 107″ should make Harley’s tourers “two to three bike lengths faster from 0-60 mph and one to two bike lengths faster from 60-80 mph in top gear.”

2017 Milwaukee-Eight Engine Specs:
Engine:                 107″                  114″            TC 103 rubber mount
Cylinder angle:    45 degree      45 degree              45 degree
Bore:                      3.937″               4.01″                      3.875″
Stroke:                  4.375″               4.5″                        4.374″
Compression:    10:1                  10.5:1                       9.7:1
Valvetrain:      Four valves per cylinder      Two valve per cylinder
Ignition:            Four plug four coil               Two plug one coil
Torque: 114 ft-lb. @ 3250 /  124 ft-lb. @ 3250 / 104.7 ft-lb. @ 3250
Starter:                 1.6 kw               1.6 kw                  1.2 kw
Charging system: 24-25 amps / 24-25 amps / 17 amps
Fuel system:      ESPFI             ESPFI                     ESPFI
Oil capacity: 4.5 quarts      /   4.5 quarts    /          4 quarts
Idle speed:      850 rpm      /     850 rpm    /          1050 rpm

The new Harley Milwaukee-Eight will power The Motor Company’s 2017 touring motorcycles and baggers.

Harley-Davidson’s Big Twins over the Years
F-Head (JD) 1914-1929
Flathead 1930-1948
Knucklehead 1936-1947
Panhead 1948-1965
Shovelhead 1966-1984
Evolution 1984-1998
Twin Cam 1999-present
Milwaukee-Eight 2017-

Our First Ride Impressions of Harley’s New Milwaukee-Eight

Cornering on the 2017 Milwaukee-Eight-equipped Road King felt more agile than ever.

Cornering on the 2017 Milwaukee-Eight-equipped Road King felt more agile than ever.

American Iron Magazine editor Steve Lita was fortunate enough to get in a day of riding on the new 2017 Harley-Davidson Touring models featuring both versions of the new Milwaukee-Eight engine; standard 107″ and CVO models equipped with the 114″ version.

The first thing you notice when you start up the new Milwaukee-Eight is, well, the precise and consistent starting. Thanks to a new automatic compression release and a more powerful starter motor, the engine comes to life every time without a hitch or a hiccup, which can’t be said for Twin Cam models. Once the engine settles to life at a calm 850 idle rpm, you’ll recognize the traditional Harley rumble, albeit a little smoother. Don’t get me wrong, this engine is not sewing machine-boring, it still has that chugging cadence to it.

The 107" Milwaukee-Eight, staying true to Harley's Big Twin tradition while leaping forward.

The 107″ Milwaukee-Eight, staying true to Harley’s Big Twin tradition while leaping forward.

Click the bike into first gear and release the clutch, and you’ll be pleased with the easier feeling on your left hand. Roll on the throttle easy, the Milwaukee-Eight smoothly pulls this heavyweight up to speed. But gun the throttle, and get ready for an aggressive bark from the stock exhaust. Thanks to less drivetrain noise and the added cubic-inches, the exhaust emanates an aggressive tone. After my first ride I commented to Harley engineers how much I liked the sound of the bike.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to a timed acceleration course, but suffice it to say the seat-of-the-pants-feeling under hard acceleration was that the new bikes pull away from a stop or roll on at speed harder than before. This Milwaukee-Eight pulls hard all the way to the 5500 redline, and I found the rev limiter many times when not judiciously watching the tach. I felt consistent thrust all the way up the tach range without the power petering off. It just pulls, pulls, pulls, and then smack! You’re on the limiter. Step up to the larger 114″ Milwaukee-Eight, which is available only in the CVO models, and get ready for a kick in the butt over the 107″ version; you will definitely feel the difference in power output.

And the 114" Milwaukee-Eight, a CVO-only option that will blow your socks off.

And the 114″ Milwaukee-Eight, a CVO-only option that will blow your socks off.

All of that is great for straight-line riding, but what happens when you throw the new Touring models into a curve? Much improvement has been made to this line of bikes, and the new 2017 models can handle some twisties better than ever before. New front fork updates feature SHOWA Dual Bending valve (SDBV) technology, which is similar to current cartridge fork inserts, but more adept for mass production use. Out back is a hand-adjustable SHOWA emulsion shock. Turn the adjustment knob 23 times to allow for 25mm of total adjustment. No more worrying about blowing out air shocks. Confidence in riding through corners at high speed is greatly increased.

The 114" CVO Touring Model handles better than you could imagine for a Big Twin.

The 114″ CVO Touring Model handles better than you could imagine for a Big Twin.

My overall riding impression of these new Milwaukee-Eight-powered models is that Harley has taken all the right feelings and emotions of the previous engine and refined them, doing so with new high-tech components. The looks of the engine are right. It’s not some foreign, radical departure. Yet under the skin, the internal components work in better harmony than before. I think of this engine as a well-sorted Big Twin. It’s better than you ever thought the Big Twin family could perform.

For the full first ride review of the all-new Milwaukee-Eight Touring models, pick up a copy of Issue #342. In Issue #341, on sale 9/13, we give you everything you need to know about the new engine platforms.

Harley News: Overview of New 2016 Harleys

Two new Dark Custom models, the most powerful cruiser lineup in company history, and a broad range of performance and styling enhancements throughout the range highlight Harley-Davidson’s new model lineup for 2016.

2016 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Highlights

  • New Iron 883 and Forty-Eight® models assert Harley-Davidson’s Dark Custom leadership with motorcycles updated with modern design and new suspensions that put a little extra smooth in the Harley-Davidson soul.
  • New S series limited-edition cruisers feature big power and cutting-edge style. The Fat Boy® S and Softail Slim® S are powered by Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine to deliver style and performance.
  • Previously only available in Harley-Davidson Touring bikes, the High Output Twin Cam 103™ engines upgrade the power for all Softail® and Dyna® models (except Street Bob).
  • Project RUSHMORE’s touring revolution expands with the return of the Road Glide® Ultra motorcycle.

According to Mark-Hans Richer, Harley-Davidson Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “We’re introducing the most powerful collection of cruisers in our history, including the brand-new S series. We’re raising the bar on Dark Custom motorcycles with the new Iron 883 and Forty-Eight models, the purest expression of the design movement we started in 2008. And we’re extending our lead in touring with the return of the Road Glide Ultra and redesign of the popular Heritage Softail Classic.”

Dark Custom Soul

The new Iron 883 is intentionally raw and rough around the edges, with a modern design inspired by garage-built bobbers past and present. All-new front and adjustable rear suspension, lighter-weight mag wheels and improved seating increase comfort and control to smooth the road ahead. The new Forty-Eight achieves its stance with a burly front tire, new mag wheels and a massive front end with new 49mm forks, and also benefits from improved adjustable rear suspension and seating. Retro styling cues of black, color and chrome give this bike a bold visual presence. Riders navigating rough and tumble urban streets on the lean and nimble Harley-Davidson Street® 750 and 500 models will appreciate the improved confidence from new front and rear braking systems.

Most Powerful Cruiser Lineup Ever

Powered by the Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine, the new Fat Boy S and Softail Slim S cruisers deliver power and performance once reserved for Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) models. Both limited-edition models feature dark styling. The Softail Slim S is available in a new Olive Gold Denim color with military-inspired styling, paying homage to the post-war customs that launched the bobber movement. Harley-Davidson gives more riders a dose of Project RUSHMORE performance by making the High Output Twin Cam 103 engine standard in every other 2016 Softail model. The High Output Twin Cam 103 is also the new standard engine for all 2016 Dyna models except the Street Bob® model.

Softail Cruise Control

There’s more cruiser news in 2016; for the first time ever electronic cruise control is available on all Harley-Davidson Softail models. The convenience of Harley-Davidson electronic cruise control, enabled by new electronic throttle control, is standard equipment on 2016 Heritage Softail® Classic, Softail® Deluxe, Fat Boy S and Softail Slim S models and available as an accessory for all other 2016 Softail models.

New Sportster Suspension

All 2016 Sportster® models will tame rough roads with all-new front and rear suspension and improved seats to enhance rider comfort and control. The new seats incorporate premium materials and revised shapes to provide more supportive comfort. The re-engineered Sportster suspension pairs emulsion coil-over shocks with new front cartridge forks. Nitrogen gas-charged shocks resist oil aeration and feature an internal valve stack with 36mm pistons and high-performance oil to provide superior compression and rebound damping control that reacts quickly to small bumps and keeps the tires in contact on uneven road surfaces. Progressive-rate spring pre-load is adjustable by a threaded collar using a spanner that stows under the seat. Tuned to complement the shocks, the stout forks feature a calibrated piston and valve stack and progressive rate springs for consistent feel throughout the compression and extension range of the suspension. The triple-rate spring and oil lock allows the forks to resist wheel hop under hard braking.

Road Glide Ultra

A two-year absence from the Harley-Davidson Touring line was time well spent infusing the Road Glide Ultra with enhanced style, outstanding aerodynamics and optimized touring ergonomics for rider and passenger– the full influence of the customer-led Project RUSHMORE product-development effort. Propelled by the performance of the Twin-Cooled™ High Output Twin Cam 103™ powertrain, the new Road Glide Ultra will exceed the expectations of the most demanding touring motorcyclist.

Heritage Softail Classic

Combining nostalgic style with smooth, modern Softail performance, the Heritage Softail Classic receives refreshed styling for 2016 plus the High Output Twin Cam 103 powertrain, standard electronic cruise control, and a new and improved saddlebag support structure.

Harley News Recall of 2013 and 2014 Motorcycles Over Brake Issues

Latest Harley Recall: Harley reports the bikes’ front wheel could become locked if brake line gets caught.

Harley-Davidson is recalling 66,421 motorcycles from this year’s model line over problems with the bikes’ anti-lock brakes.

The Milwaukee-based company says the recall affects 2014 Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles that were built between July 1, 2013 and May 7, 2014, the company said Wednesday.

The front wheels of the bikes can lock up without notice when the front brake line is caught between the vehicle’s fuel tank and frame. The pinched line can cause a build-up of brake fluid pressure that locks the front wheel, the company says.

The defect has led to five crashes and two minor injuries. Harley-Davidson plans to contact individual owners later this month and will replace affected bikes’ brake lines for free.

Earlier this year the iconic motorcycle-maker voluntarily recalled more than 18,000 bikes from its Breakout and CVO Breakout model lines due to a fuel range indicator defect. Another 29,000 motorcycles with hydraulic clutch system issues were recalled last fall.

Harley-Davidson 2011 CVO Street Glide

Thanks to the mainstream media, I am reminded daily that the world economy is down and most of us are experiencing some sort of hardship. That said, regardless of the economic climate we’re in, aren’t we all still entitled to feel good about ourselves and have some fun in life? News flash: motorcycling is a relatively inexpensive way to do that.

There are tons of options when it comes to thinking about getting into, back into, or even getting serious about motorcycling. For me, just getting on a Harley Touring bike and hitting the road is what it’s all about since I’m almost guaranteed to have some sort of fun. The 2011 Harley-Davidson FLHXSE2 CVO Street Glide (SG) seen here is an easy, yet stylish way to accomplish that. And all for a fraction of the cost of my ultimate dream, owning a custom-built bagger.

I was first exposed to Street Glides back in 2005, when I had the good fortune of riding a standard OE version of the bike from Denver, to Sturgis, South Dakota. Back then, the economy and the motorcycle industry were booming, and the Street Glide had just been introduced as new for the 2006 model year. It was around that same time that there seemed to be increased interest in customized baggers as a whole. If I remember correctly, the story goes that Willie G designed the SG to be his personal ride, only to have the Motor Company then release it as a production factory-custom, hot rod bagger.

Based on the Electra Glide, the Street Glide joined the Touring family as a stripped-down, younger, hipper member. Sure it has saddlebags, a batwing fairing, and a windshield like its older siblings, but there is no denying this bike’s updated, more modern street presence. The SG went on to become a very popular touring bike and one of Harley’s best-selling models overall. So much so that four years after it was introduced, the Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) division took the original hot rod bagger concept of that first Street Glide one step further and released the CVO Street Glide. Now, for the second year in a row, it is building upon that successful debut and even took it up another notch with the introduction of this FLHXSE2 for 2011.

What you get with this CVO is a limited-production version of the popular Harley-Davidson hot rod bagger. But it comes with one-offish, custom styling and all the chrome, paint, and accessories associated with that. As with all CVOs, a TC 110″ power plant is standard, and in this bike it definitely puts the hot in hot rod in more ways than one.

This year’s CVO Street Glide features a Road King side-fill fuel tank with flush-mount caps, gas on the right, and LED gauge on the left. The new, low-profile console and sleek, liquid-metal badges give the setup a true custom look. A new 19″ seven-spoke Agitator front wheel, the largest-diameter wheel ever offered on a H-D Touring bike, is covered by a slammed and trimmed front fender. Hydraulic rear shocks are hand- adjustable for preload and perform well over a wide range of road surfaces. The combination lets this bike roll in style without compromising the overall handling. A low-profile seat is faced with snakeskin-patterned leather inserts and puts the rider in a comfortable riding position. A matching passenger backrest comes standard.

All 2011 CVOs have benefited from audio system upgrades, and this model specifically boasts six speakers (one in each of the ventilated fairing lowers and the other four in the fairing) and a new, high-efficiency, 100-watt-per-channel amplifier. An 8GB iPod nano comes standard with your bike purchase, and it easily docks to a holder located in the top of the right saddlebag for seamless interaction with the stock sound system. Also notable is the fact that the saddlebags on this bike are of the one-piece, extended variety which adds both style and storage capacity.

A first for CVO: each of the four color options will be complemented by other specific finishes. For example, the Kryptonite and Black Diamond bike you see here also has gloss black engine covers as well as a blacked-out inner fairing and muffler caps. Note that production will be limited to approximately 3,700 units total for all four colors, with this color and combination of finishes being the most exclusive of the four.

Back when the economy was booming, it seemed everyone was buying a Harley and hitting the road for some fun because he easily could. That led to lots of glorious things and a surge in the custom industry was just one benefit to bikers. When customizing touring bikes became popular, it led to the introduction of the Street Glide, which then led to one CVO version and then another. In my mind, this CVO Street Glide is the closest thing to a one-off custom bagger you can get that’s still a bike from the factory. If you want a bike with a batwing fairing and windshield, but also want it to have an awesome street presence, this is the ride for you. Simply stated, it has all the capabilities of a full-blown tourer, but the style of a custom. Of all the CVOs I’ve ridden, this Street Glide seems to have the perfect combination of components and treatments applied to the stock version of the bike, making it all work as a whole.

Sure, this bike has an MSRP of $32,499, which is a good amount of shekels, but when you factor in everything you get and the fact that the package might be the closest to a one-off you may ever buy, you actually have yourself a bargain.

So now every time I hear that damn mainstream media reminding me of the economy, I just tune it out and go for a ride. AIM

NEW BIKE TEST by Joe Knezevic as seen in American Iron Magazine

Harley CVO Ultra Dark Side Magazine Review

The new 2010 Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) Ultra Classic Electra Glide trades the shine of chrome for a fade to black in its debut as the new, darker version of this truly exceptional Harley-Davidson Touring motorcycle.

Each motorcycle is serialized from one to 999, and displays a formidable array of blacked out components, led by the serialized CB pod insert and the Gloss Black Rumble Collection and low-smoked windshield, the new CVO Ultra adds leading-edge technology with a handlebar-mounted Road Tech zūmo 660 GPS Navigator and an integrated automatic lock system that now includes the ignition knob.

The CVO Ultra is powered by a black and chrome Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine and a 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission, which is the largest-displacement V-Twin engine offered from the factory by Harley-Davidson. Besides the black powertrain, this menacing touring bike revels in all things dark with a Crimson Mist Black / Dark Slate and Flame graphics base color, and approximately 185 other unique black parts, components and accessories meticulously melded to form and function by the CVO team.

Among the main attractions on the dark road to CVO Ultra custom inspiration are the Contrast Chrome Roulette wheels, the Rumble Collection featuring nine Gloss Black accessories from mirrors to saddlebag latch covers, black engine and saddlebag guards, and Diamond Black gauge faces. All these deeply dark features combine to make the Ultra into an inspired motorcycle that could only come from Harley-Davidson CVO.

The CVO Ultra presents a lower profile up front with a 6.5-inch smoked windshield and adds premium Touring features like anti-lock braking system (ABS), LED saddlebag lights, Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI), a six-gallon fuel tank, Brembo brakes and 160-watt CD/AM/FM/WB/MP3 Advanced Audio System by Harman-Kardon, CB and intercom, and passenger audio with controls, cruise control, plus standard XM Radio.

The CVO Ultra is built on the innovative Touring chassis introduced by Harley-Davidson in 2009, based on a single-spar, rigid backbone frame and swingarm specifically developed to suit the needs of long-haul touring rides.

Key CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide Features
• Screamin’ Eagle Black and Chrome Twin Cam 110 engine with 110-cid (1803cc), rubber-mounted to the frame, is rated at 115 ft. lbs. of torque at 3750 rpm. The 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission with black and chrome case features a helical-cut fifth gear.

• Developed for Harley-Davidson by Garmin, the Road Tech zūmo 660 has a new mounting position for convenient viewing by both rider and passenger with a glove-friendly touch screen, left-handed controls and a bright, UV-resistant display that’s easy to read in sunlight.

• Gloss Black Rumble Collection featuring rider footboard inserts and pans, passenger footboard inserts and pans, shifter pegs, brake pedal, highway pegs, mirrors, windshield trim, saddlebag latch covers and heated hand grips with end caps.

• Contrast Chrome Roulette wheels, 17-inch front and 16-inch rear.

• Suspended, dual control heated leather seat with new perforated printed insert.

• Leather passenger backrest with adjustable lumbar support and new perforated, leather insert.

• New custom paint scheme is Crimson Mist Black / Dark Slate with flame graphics.

Production of the 2010 CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide will be limited to approximately 999 units and it has a suggested U.S. retail price of $36,499. — Harley Davidson Press Release

Harley Magazine Test CVO Motorcycle

Limited Edition Harley CVO Motorcycle

Every Harley-Davidson new model launch I’ve attended over the years has been a rewarding experience in some way or another, but none more so than the ones hosted by the Motor Company’s Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) division. It seems that when the CVO team launches their new models, they do it in a special and exclusive way, giving you the sense of what it might be like to actually own a CVO. This year’s press launch (CVO’s 11th year in existence) kept with tradition and made us all feel grand for many reasons, not the least of which was because we were bunking at the Ritz- Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California.

For 2010 there will be four models offered: two reprised, one all new, and one all new and exclusive to CVO (see page 110 for specs on each model). It’s no surprise that for a fifth time, the CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide has made the lineup. And it’s nice to see one of my favorite Harleys, the CVO Fat Bob, make the grade for the second straight year. The other two models are the first-year CVO Street Glide, and the exclusive-to-CVO Softail Convertible. As a side note, these four bikes (as well as all Big Twins) will now feature a new helical-cut fifth gear in their six-speed Cruise Drive transmissions, eliminating that fifth gear whine which created a lot of business for Bert Baker. Although I did get to rack up some miles on all four models, I was most intrigued by the exclusive-to-CVO Softail Convertible, so I procured as much seat time as I could on it, figuring I should discuss it here.

Harley CVO Softail

The convertible is not necessarily a bold new concept for the Motor Company. In the ’80s, there were the FXR Convertibles, followed by the Dyna Convertibles of the ’90s. Neither of those models sold well, and the idea lay dormant at Juneau Avenue until this CVO interpretation came to fruition. Right from the start, you can see that special care was taken to make sure the 2010 CVO Softail Convertible was designed to be a two-in-one, touring-and-cruising factory custom, and it was going to look good doing it in either configuration.
Attention to detail is obvious in the quality of its detachable parts, and how they work together on the bike as a whole. The combination of the color-matched compact fairing with the smoked windshield nicely integrates with the bike’s style, and is as simple to install or remove as any of the other detachable windshields Harley offers. The leather, semi-ridged saddlebags feature genuine buffalo-hide inserts. They can be removed in seconds by simply pulling and then turning a lock tab on the backside of the bags, and sliding the whole setup backward. The best part is that all that’s left behind are two mounting pegs on each fender strut. Installation of the bags takes a tad longer because everything needs to line up, including the lower mounting tabs. Once I got used to the installation process, I was able to attach each bag in under a minute, which leads me to believe even a monkey (or a buffalo) could learn how to do it.

An obvious and noticeable difference between this and all previous H-D convertibles is the fact that the custom leather seat has a detachable passenger pillion and detachable backrest pad, meaning, when not in touring mode, you have a solo seat cruiser. Note for styling continuity: all three of these parts feature genuine buffalo-hide inserts that match those on the saddlebags.

When I initially sat on this bike, I couldn’t help but notice the low seat height (24.4″ laden) and high mounted position of the floorboards, which combined to give me a cramped feel while in the cockpit. Anyone with a large body take note because you might not like this bike on long hauls. The rear suspension has been lowered a full 1″, which forced me to smooth out my riding lines and not make any abrupt directional changes to prevent the floorboards from scraping. The good thing here is that by simply installing stock Softail shocks, you get that whole inch of ground clearance back. Better yet, in my opinion, a sweet air-ride setup would work righteously on this bike because you pump it up in touring mode and slam it down in cruiser mode. However, those of you who just plan on burning highway miles probably won’t have as many touchdowns, so this stock setup should be fine.

In terms of performance, what is there not to like about the TC 110B granite-powdercoated engine driving a 200mm, 18″, chrome aluminum Stinger rear wheel? The all-new combination digital speedometer and analog tachometer is a thing of beauty, and works wonderfully. The bike’s speed is displayed digitally in the center of the gauge, while the rpm is indicated by an arm that sweeps around the outer edge of the gauge. Easy to read, and looks hot, too!
The fit and finish of this CVO, like all of them, is exquisite. The full coverage wide rear fender and close-cropped, trimmed front fender do wonders to visually ground the bike. Add to that the fact that this chrome-laden bike also has many color-matched parts, including the frame, swingarm, frame inserts, saddlebag brackets, and horseshoe oil tank. You have a visually striking motorcycle, no matter how it’s configured.

Over the years, I’ve seen many deals advertised as BOGO (buy one, get one). To me, the 2010 Softail Convertible has a Fat Boy-esque look in cruiser trim, while in touring trim it reminds me of a Heritage Classic. That said, the way I see it is that you’re really getting two bikes for the price of one: $27,999. Add to that the value inherently built into buying a limited-production, factory-custom CVO Harley, and you can see why this bike is a steal.

–Joe Knezevic as published in American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine.